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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, will introduce a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for millions.
The congresswoman announced the bill Tuesday evening during a virtual town hall event. Her announcement comes as three federal aid programs expired last week that were put in place during the onset of the pandemic.
"I’ve been very disappointed on both sides of the aisle that we’ve just allowed pandemic unemployment assistance to completely lapse when we are clearly not fully recovered from the cost effects of the pandemic," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I simply just could not allow this to happen without at least trying."
"I’m not entirely sure the prospects of it, and I want to be completely honest with you all on that," she continued. "We will work it, we will try, but I simply just could not allow us to let this happen without at least trying."
The three federal assistance plans, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or FPUC, and Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, were cut off as of Sept. 6, a report by the Century Foundation revealed. The programs offered workers an additional $300 per week in addition to state assistance, expanded worker eligibility for benefits, and increased the duration of benefits for those who were still jobless.
"Under current legislation, FPUC, PEUC, and PUA benefits can be paid through the week ending September 5, 2021, but after that, all of this federal assistance will be cut off on September 6, with no grace period," the report says.
Ocasio-Cortez's legislation would extend the benefits programs from the Sept. 6 cutoff to Feb. 1, 2022, including retroactive payments for those who lost access to benefits earlier, Fox Business reports.
President Joe Biden previously commented that he believed it was appropriate for the benefits programs to end as scheduled in September.
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Original Author: Matthew Miller